Re: algorithmic complexity of God

Hal Finney (
Mon, 12 Jan 1998 19:09:03 -0800

Nick Bostrom, <>, writes, quoting Hal:
> > Two possible theories, as I mentioned, are first that you create all
> > possible universes with all different variations on the parameters
> > we observe. This is probably a pretty simple theory.
> The problem with this theory is that our univers is not what we
> should expect it to be if this theory were true. If all locally
> possible worlds are instantiated eqully numerously, then we should
> not expect to find ourselves in one that is so highly ordered as
> ours. For every possible world like this one, there are countless
> ones where pink elephants sometimes materialize out of nowhere or
> random blue blobs form over houses whose street addresses are prime
> numbers. If all these possible worlds were actual, then why are we
> not in one of these irregular ones?

I didn't mean that all logically possible universes would exist, but
rather that a full spectrum of universes rather like our own would be
created, with all possible variations on fundamental physical parameters,
like the dimensionality of space and the strengths of the various forces.
So this would not include universes where pink elephants materialize out
of nowhere.

However in the light of Nick's interpretation, maybe my idea is not
so attractive. I thought Wei's suggestion (as I understood it) was
improbable that maybe just one universe exists which just happens to
have physical properties that allow the formation of life. It seemed
too arbitrary. I tried to suggest a simpler model in which all possible
variations would exist. But I was still constraining the variations to
be those which are not so terribly different from our own. Fundamentally
maybe that is really just as limited, compared with the alternative that
Nick is suggesting.